Corinne Lejbowicz, digital pioneer

His blue eyes sparkle, repartee and humor accompany almost every sentence. At 62, Corinne Lejbowicz is not a pre-retiree tired of her activity. Dynamic and eager for new challenges, he took the presidency of the Qwant search engine in the summer of 2021.

“Challenging” according to the teams, however it considers the slowdown after years of working on operations, without success: “Every time I say that, it doesn’t work!” », he smiled. Determined to devote himself to administrative duties from 2018, he started this new career with e-commerce specialist Lengow. Very quickly, Agriconomie, an e-commerce site specializing in the sale of fertilizers, seeds and agricultural equipment, created a room rental platform and related services for professionals, Bird Office. He also joined Troov, which manages lost and found objects. This appetite for start-ups came to him from afar, he who first proved himself in large groups.

Let yourself be carried away by the encounters

After graduating from ESCP Europe and Sciences Po Paris, Corinne Lejbowicz was undecided about the direction her career would take. “These studies have the advantage of universality. I am not a person who prepares for the future, I debate it and I try to fit in as well as possible”. Within a communications agency, he is in charge of creation “what an extranet looks like ahead of its time with a fast and electronic tool”. At the risk of sounding like a digital dinosaur, he recalls that he responded with a solution based on a minitel. “I remember thinking: Damn, but of course! This is the future, it will change things towards easier communication and secure access to everything! “. We are in the early 80s.

Looking for projects in this sector, he found Infonie led by Bruno Bonnel, who is now a deputy responsible for managing the investment plan in France 2030. “He had a vision to be an internet service provider. At that time, we worked on the first concept in this area, a startup that didn’t have a name yet.

A few years later, he branched out to Vivendi and launched, in 1996, the first broadband internet service provider. For the first time, Corinne Lejbowicz brought them together in particular by joining the AOL team to pass the European scale, by launching this time the first mobile portal, the first French ADSL project.

In the heart of startups

Impatient by nature, he leaves large groups that leave him no cards in hand and where the decision-making process seems too long to him. Startups respond to the model that suits them. At leguide.com, between 2005 and 2012, he “rocketed” a start-up of 20 people with offices in Paris, Berlin and Munich and almost 200 employees. “I have extraordinary memories about it, it was necessary to invent the future, to gain profitability, to be listed on the stock market, to recruit and fight with one of the GAFAs. Moreover, the day we passed him, we opened the champagne! ».

After a short break, he allowed himself to be seduced by Minute Buzz before responding to a former trainee who gave birth to Prestashop. His international development mission ended in 2018, he decided to rethink his career as a board member. Even if the startups keep his preference, the administrator also sits at the table of the board of directors of the Post Office and the FDJ, which does not necessarily have a profile capable of ticking all the boxes as Corinne Lejbowicz can. If the sixty-something does not feel useful, he does not hesitate to reject proposals: “I’m not just here to reach 40% of women on boards of directors”.

The adventure of Qwant

At Qwant, he finds common values ​​and a new challenge in a sector that fascinates him. “Search is a gateway to the internet that gives access to everything, it’s magic! ». But a magic that he likes white. “Our role is to inform people that they can search online without being tracked, targeted, in other words, being free! ». It again faces one of the pillars of GAFA, it rejects the frontal approach, preferring to compete with tools like Qwant Maps or Deepl’s translation service. “We have launched an extension that indicates the number of trackers and advertising cookies that have been blocked. There is something to be afraid of. Qwant’s specificity, respect for privacy”.

Determined to take part for the greatest number, he spends the little free time left at his disposal to act within the association ARES, whose vocation is to promote the return to work of people in situations of exclusion. He certainly remains focused on the future.

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